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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

jerryh3 posted this link in another topic:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/p...=10425&cs_id=1042505&p_id=4652&seq=1&format=2

Which reminded me that I wanted to ask if something similar that I did is code compliant:



What I have is a 15A circuit wired with 14/2 going to the 2-gang box on top with the receptacles. The bottom box is wired with 2 14/2 cables behind the wall, each pigtailed to a #14 appliance cable/plug. The NM-B from the bottom box feeds 2 receptacle units in my den (LCD TV and equipment closet).

The above pic is from shortly after install, before I attached the UPS inline with the circuit, but you get the idea.

The boxes pictured are in my basement, ~5ft off the floor. The previous owner of the house finished the basement walls and ceiling with drywall but created an accessible raceway around the entire room -- there's an 8" gap between the wall and ceiling which is covered by stained 1/4" plywood that slips into a couple of dados in trim attached to the wall and ceiling. Best idea I've ever seen.
 

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DIYer
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We just did something like this at work.

We just used a romex clamp to hold a cord+plug pigtail into a box to plug into the UPS. The circuit was not connected to the mains power anywhere else except through the UPS.

I'm not sure your setup is OK. Could you show more pictures or explain how the things are connected better?


(Bottom line though is if you have stranded power cable in the wall, it's probably wrong and should be fixed)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
We just used a romex clamp to hold a cord+plug pigtail into a box to plug into the UPS. The circuit was not connected to the mains power anywhere else except through the UPS.
Sounds like we're on the same page; Same deal as mine, only I have 2 sets of cord+plugs feeding two branches. The only hardwired connection to the mains is in the box w/the receptacles.

I'm not sure your setup is OK. Could you show more pictures or explain how the things are connected better?
I'll get a pic of the inside of the bottom box for you. Pretty simple though; hot on one appliance cord is pigtailed to hot on one of the NM-B lines leaving the box, neut. to neut. Same thing for the other cord set. All grounds are bundled and bonded to the box.

(Bottom line though is if you have stranded power cable in the wall, it's probably wrong and should be fixed)
No no... The appliance cords are stranded, but they're pigtailed to NM-B in the box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·



The branch wiring comes in from the back of the box. (Yes, that cable clamp is listed for 2 14-2 cables). On the appliance cords I labeled the hot legs with black marker during original install.

So in the order of the wire nuts: Cord A hot, Cord A neut., grounds, Cord B hot, Cord B neut. Again, cord A feeds a receptacle in a closet, and cord B feeds a receptacle behind my TV. No unusual wiring beyond this point.

The grounds are hard to see; there are 5 pigtailed there -- one to bond the box + 2 x cord sets + 2 x branch wiring.





I took the above pic for context. Probably doesn't matter much, but I thought you might be curious.

It occurs to me that I probably should have bonded the two boxes together so that there is always a fault path -- there is none with both cords disconnected. Then again, there is no current either with the cords unplugged, so probably not that big a deal. (?)
 

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The only problem I can see is that the wires in the lower box could be plugged into a 20 amp circuit if avalible and because they are in wall 14 ga wires should be protected by a 15 amp breaker or fuse. I would guess at a minimum to be code compliant you would need to add 15 amp fuses or breakers to the lower box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The only problem I can see is that the wires in the lower box could be plugged into a 20 amp circuit if avalible and because they are in wall 14 ga wires should be protected by a 15 amp breaker or fuse. I would guess at a minimum to be code compliant you would need to add 15 amp fuses or breakers to the lower box.
That occurred to me, but there are no 20A receptacles within reach of those cords. Of course someone could theoretically run an extension cord from a 20A recept. to connect it, but being as I'm the only one who would be messing with it I'm comfortable with that being the case.

Also the cover for the lower box is labeled "15A Max Feed", so hopefully that would give it away if someone sneaks into my basement with an extension cord.. :wink:

Seriously though, if it's not compliant then I guess I could add a disconnect box w/15A breakers.

Just wondering why/if this product is compliant if my setup wouldn't be? http://www.monoprice.com/products/p...=10425&cs_id=1042505&p_id=4652&seq=1&format=2 I'm not trying to be difficult, but I've seen it recommended a few times on this forum..
 

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It jumpers from one box to another with solid core wire with a perminate connection (You connect the two plates together with some solid core power cabling you can find at your local hardware store.) and must be sized to the circuit rating. In other words the solid core wire would have to be 12 ga if on a 20 amp circuit. I can see no advantage to it. You are basically installing and another box and connecting to and existing box what is the advanrage of the power cord? Your set up you have created an independent circuit with in wall wiring supplied by a plug in that could be connected to a larger capacity circuit. The in wall wiring must be protected. A couple of surface mounted glass fuse holders could be installed in the cover plate to meet the requirement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It jumpers from one box to another with solid core wire with a perminate connection (You connect the two plates together with some solid core power cabling you can find at your local hardware store.)
Right, same as I have..

and must be sized to the circuit rating.
Not true. The mfrs. of both products on the market (Powerbridge and DataComm) recommend 14-2 (in DataComm's case "or 12-2") wiring and do not specify that it needs to be sized to the supply circuit. Also both companies include a #14 patch cord to be used. Their inlets are also rated for 15A.

http://www.datacommelectronics.com/product.php?ID=440
http://www.powerbridgesolution.com/aboutpowerbridge/specswarranty.html

That being said, I think that both products could be used as-is unsafely on a 20A circuit, which is not a good thing.

I can see no advantage to it. You are basically installing and another box and connecting to and existing box what is the advanrage of the power cord?
The advantage is that I can have a UPS and/or voltage regulator for my sensitive electronic equipment, and have it tucked away in my basement. Putting a UPS in my equipment closet would have been no problem, but I wasn't going to mount one on the wall next to my LCD TV. :no:

Your set up you have created an independent circuit with in wall wiring supplied by a plug in that could be connected to a larger capacity circuit. The in wall wiring must be protected. A couple of surface mounted glass fuse holders could be installed in the cover plate to meet the requirement.
I'm not disagreeing with you at all. I agree completely, actually.

I'm still lost as to how there wouldn't be the same requirement for the PowerBridge kit and the DataComm kit. Unless those would both technically violate code when installed with the included parts, but the responsibility for that falls on the installer and not the mfr.??
 

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The previous owner of the house finished the basement walls and ceiling with drywall but created an accessible raceway around the entire room -- there's an 8" gap between the wall and ceiling which is covered by stained 1/4" plywood that slips into a couple of dados in trim attached to the wall and ceiling. Best idea I've ever seen.
Could you please either PM me with pictures or post them here of this setup? I am very interested in how they did that as I am finishing off the ceiling in an area where I will be running network and CATV cable through the basement and have considered doing something like what you are describing.

On topic - You could always steal some 15 amp circuit breakers out of some power strip and mount those in your bottom box. I built a "heavy duty" power cord tap a while back that was fed with a 30 amp twist lock to a junction box with a duplex outlet mounted to either side of it. Put a 4" j-box cover on the box in the middle and installed the 2 15 amp breakers to protect the outlets (and the very short pieces of 12 gauge wire I used between the boxes). The power strips are pretty cheap, and would certaintly be cheaper than a fused disconnect.
 

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Patch cord, fixture wiring, and panel wire have different wire size requirements than in wall wiring. 15 amp outlets can be used on 20 amp circuits. As long as the wiring between the two mentioned devices are 12 ga it would be code compliant because the cord has a plug that will only work on 15 or 20 amp outlets. The in wall wiring becomes part of a branch circuit and a branch circuit must be protected by a breaker that matches the smallest wiring in the branch. For instance, if you run 12 ga from the panel to 4 outlets in your living room then come off one of the receptacles to a switch and a light with 14 ga wire then the circuit is a 15 amp branch and must be protected by a 15 amp breaker.

Because these two units have a patch cord that can be plugged into a 15 or 20 amp circuit the in wall wiring between the units would have to be either 12 ga or 14 ga and protected by a 15 amp breaker. The external components like patch cords or fixtures do not affect the requirement. In wall wiring must be protected from the source by an appropriate sized breaker.

Now whether an inspector would catch it or not is another story.
 

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Here is what we did

The one on the right is a real outlet... the one on the left plugs into the UPS and is unpowered. It continues on to another set of UPS protected outlets.
 

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His UPS likely has built in over-current protection. And it's very doubtful his UPS could supply more than 15 amps unless it's really big for a home UPS.
If it were hard wired to the UPS with 15 amp breaker it would be no problem but it is feed by a patch cord that can be plugged into the UPS, another outlet, an extension cord, or a generator. The question is not is it safe the way he will use it the question is is in compliant and in my opinion it is not. You can plug it into a 100 amp service if you want and it would work but it still wouldn't be compliant.
 

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I see what you are saying...

I could see an inspector potentially having a problem with a 14 gauge fixed wiring system being powered off an 5-15 inlet or whip. I could also see them letting it slide.

He could fix the problem by finding an extension cord with a 15 amp fused plug and using that for his whip, I'd say.
 

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BTW Scott I just noticed your UPS... it's tiny! Be careful not to overload it, that kind is only good for maybe 3-4 amps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Could you please either PM me with pictures or post them here of this setup? I am very interested in how they did that as I am finishing off the ceiling in an area where I will be running network and CATV cable through the basement and have considered doing something like what you are describing.
No prob.. I'll try to take some more pics this evening, and maybe post a new thread in case anyone else is interested.

On topic - You could always steal some 15 amp circuit breakers out of some power strip and mount those in your bottom box.
I actually did that a long time ago; Not a bad idea, but it can be a little messy (would be much better if the breakers came with a 3/8" flange and clips :) ).

hayewe farm said:
Because these two units have a patch cord that can be plugged into a 15 or 20 amp circuit the in wall wiring between the units would have to be either 12 ga or 14 ga and protected by a 15 amp breaker. The external components like patch cords or fixtures do not affect the requirement. In wall wiring must be protected from the source by an appropriate sized breaker.
Agreed that the kits from those mfrs. should have an OCPD at the inlet, if that's what you're saying.

I was poking around in the code trying to find an answer, and an "inlet" is not even defined (NEC 2008) in section 100. I thought it counts as a receptacle, but the definition specifies that a "receptacle is a contact device installed at the outlet for the connection of an attachment plug".

Annnnyways, I'm not trying to nitpick what you were saying -- I appreciate your clarification.. Just trying to understand how an inlet would need to be sized.

From what I've read I would need an OCPD at the point of connection to the supply, so at the plug. (240.4(B)(1) seems to require that the flexible cords be protected at their rated ampacity -- unless I'm reading that wrong).

Gigs said:
He could fix the problem by finding an extension cord with a 15 amp fused plug and using that for his whip, I'd say.
So Gigs' suggestion is probably the easiest/cheapest way to go. Good idea, thanks!

Gigs said:
BTW Scott I just noticed your UPS... it's tiny! Be careful not to overload it, that kind is only good for maybe 3-4 amps.
No worries, that UPS is actually not connected inline with the above setup. It powers that computer sitting sideways on the shelf in the pic. The voltage regulator (600VA max) next to it is powering my TV (285W max). The other connection to my equipment cabinet is directly plugged into the mains b/c I need a 1000VA UPS at minimum and don't have a spare one just now.

Your install definitely has a much nicer commercial feel. :) Though don't you need an OCPD as well??
 

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Your install definitely has a much nicer commercial feel. :) Though don't you need an OCPD as well??
Maybe, it has the same problem as yours in that its 14 gauge that could be plugged into a 20 amp outlet.

I don't see it as a big deal really. This is more like a fancy power strip since ours doesn't run inside the wall or anything. I might put a note on the plug that says "plug into UPS only" or something.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Maybe, it has the same problem as yours in that its 14 gauge that could be plugged into a 20 amp outlet.

I don't see it as a big deal really. This is more like a fancy power strip since ours doesn't run inside the wall or anything. I might put a note on the plug that says "plug into UPS only" or something.
:) I like that fancy power strip analogy.

Plus yours is all in EMT/metal boxes, so you're likely to get a short before a fire.
 

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Scottr, how about a panel mount breaker You need the OCPD where the in wall wires are connected to the supply which is where the cord is connected to the 14 ga in wall wiring. The cord itself does not need to be protected but a fused cord should also be acceptable.
 

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Gigs,
Yours is not a problem because it is not in wall wiring. Yours would be considered panel or fixture wiring and can be used up to about 40 amps. Crazy isn't it?
 
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